By Renee Lishka
Based on personal experience.
It begins with a kind gesture through a chat room or a message board. You are lonely and vulnerable. A nice, attractive man notices something nice about you and you are instantly drawn to him. He’s charming, he’s nice and he treats you in a way you have never been treated before. He sends you playlists from YouTube that is full of romantic love songs you grew up fantasizing that someone would be singing or playing those love songs to you. Now someone has finally done it, and you feel like the most special person on Earth. You start to feel giddy, and foolish, and you anticipate when he will show up online day after day. You wonder what romantic gesture he will share with you, and you are eager to get to know him better.
Day after day, week after week, the online courtship soon turns into an online romance. Because you aren’t just sharing songs anymore. You have moved on to sharing secrets and stories about yourself that you know in your heart he will understand. You feel that he cares about every single thing that you tell him; every personal and traumatic experience you have gone through he can relate to because he tells you that he has been through it too. You take comfort in the idea that you are both on the same wavelength, that you share the same hopes and dreams of happiness, and you soon realize that you both want the same things in life.
Weeks turn into months, and you find yourself exchanging texts and waiting for him to pop up on Facebook. He keeps telling you everyday how much he “loves” you, and it must be true because you feel the same way he does. You have a sacred bond. You have a connection that no one else would ever understand.
Because you feel this way you remove your dating profile. You completely isolate yourself from the chance of anyone else thinking you are as wonderful as they are. Only HE is your match. You spend hours on the phone, exchanging more personal stories, and telling each other how much you love them. You are convinced that you are in love with him, and that everything you are experiencing with him is 100% real. It has to be.
Then one day you start talking about meeting in person. A day you have been waiting for after spending so much time getting to know one another online and on the phone. You feel that it is time to meet. That you know him well enough to where you are comfortable meeting him face to face and in person.
Finally, you meet him for the first time. He’s still charming, he’s handsome, he’s the exact same person he sent you a photo of the first time you started chatting. He is everything you had been dreaming about, and more. He takes you out to a nice, fancy restaurant that no one has ever taken you to before. He has no problem picking up the check. He tells you how happy he is that he is there with you, and seduces you with the idea of making love to him. Making love has only been a conversation, not necessarily an action either of you had been able to take. So the second time you meet you make love. And it is amazing, and life altering, and you think he is the one. He is the one you are going to be with for the rest of your life. It all has been making sense up til this point. There is just no question as to why it wouldn’t work.
You spend the following days and weeks convincing yourself and your friends and family that you have found the one. The one who was meant for you. Whether they agree with you or not; whether they try to warn you about the fact that you don’t know him as well as you think you might, you are still convinced that he is THE ONE.
You’ve let him into your heart and into your life. You have shared with him every single intimate detail about yourself that you felt safe sharing with him. He has developed enough trust to where you trust him with your heart and your soul.
You agree to go out on a date with him. This time you are comfortable enough with him to let him come pick you up from your house, like the old fashioned way of dating. You trust him enough to let him into your house for a quick drink, and to show him where you live. Then everything starts to change.
He’s no longer the charming, handsome man you met online. He’s no longer feeding your head full of ideas of romance and happiness. He’s no longer feeding you compliments, or making you feel as special as he once did in the beginning. All of sudden he becomes possessive and controlling. He begins to track every move you make online, and keeps tabs on what sites you visit and who you exchange emails with. He questions your loyalty to him, and whether or not you truly love him. You are heartbroken that he even has to ask you that, because you know the truth. You are in love with him, but still he questions it.
And soon the questions become suspicion. He even tracks your phone. You don’t know how he does it, but somehow he knows exactly where you are and who you are with. The fact scares you to the point where you are shaking. When you confront him about it he calls you a bitch and a whore. As if everything he is doing to cause you harm and fear is your fault, not his.
His compliments turn into insults. His trust turns out to be manipulation. His comfort turns into fear.
The love you thought you were receiving from him, is suddenly gone. He has ruined all your hopes and dreams. He has isolated you from your friends and family. He lied about everything you shared, and the feelings you thought he had for you.
The truth is he felt nothing for you. The truth is, he was a sociopath. His only motive was to get you hooked and lure you in. Once he was done, his next step was to destroy all your hopes and dreams and even your life.
That is online dating with a sociopath.